Pan-Africanism is an ideology that argues encouraging a united African Diaspora. Pan-Africanists believe that a unified Diaspora is an essential step in creating a progressive economic, social and political climate.
Critics who favor Pan Africanism argue that it is declarations such as that of Patrice Lumumba that cost him his life; they claim that there exists an underground war against African unity which has resulted in the deaths and assassinations of many great Pan African activists.
Patrice Lumumba’s last words contained in a letter to his wife before he was assassinated, further credits the assertion that the erstwhile colonial masters have set up an organized network to quench the voice of leading figures who favor Pan Africanism by any means possible.
A part of his infamous letter reads:
“…But what we wanted for our country — its right to an honorable life, to perfect dignity, to independence with no restrictions — was never wanted by Belgian colonialism and its Western allies, who found direct and indirect, intentional and unintentional support among certain high officials of the United Nations, that body in which we placed all our trust when we called on it for help.
“They have corrupted some of our countrymen; they have bought others; they have done their part to distort the truth and defile our independence. What else can I say? ‘That whether dead or alive, free or in prison by order of the colonialists, it is not my person that is important. What is important is the Congo, our poor people whose independence has been turned into a cage, with people looking at us from outside the bars, sometimes with charitable compassion, sometimes with glee and delight.”
Lumumba was assassinated shortly after, and sadly, his beloved Congo has not changed much to date because “Belgian colonialism and its Western allies” as he called it, still have a stronghold on the country.
Patrice Lumumba was not the only one to die for Pan Africanism; from Martin Luther to Malcolm X, from Tom Mboya to Thomas Sankara, the forces against Pan Africanism is alive and well – and sadly, too many good men have died for the cause.
TheSpy Uganda Pan-Africanist reporter brings you a list of some of the great Pan African heroes who were assassinated over their agenda of turning African Continent to be the superior.
1. Patrice Lumumba. (DR Congo, 1961)
Patrice Lumumba was announced Prime Minister in June 1961 at the age of 34. He endured a tumultuous tenure plagued by the Congo Crisis, which comprised of mutiny in the Army, secession of important mineral-rich regions-Katanga and South Kasai-with Belgian support, rebellion in some parts of the country, and inter-ethnic fights.
After failing to get the support of the US and the UN in fighting the secession, Lumumba turned to the Soviets-a cardinal sin in the era of the cold war. This led to division within his government and his subsequent deposition by Army Chief, Joseph Mobutu (a.k.a Mobutu Sese Seko).
Patrice Emery Lumumba was executed by firing squad on January 17, 1961. According to Wikipedia, his body was later dug up and ‘dissolved in sulfuric acid while the bones were ground and scattered’ in a bid to eradicate his legacy.
Patrice Lumumba’s assassination was described by Luddo De Witte, as “the most important assassination of the 20th century.”
2. Thomas Isidore Noel Sankara (Burkina Faso, 1987)
Thomas Sankara seized power in a popular coup in 1983 in an attempt to break the country’s ties to its French colonial power. He gave the country its new name — Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta.
Sankara had an ambitious agenda to eliminate corruption and encourage economic and social progress, but this resulted in an increasingly authoritarian approach to power.
Though he remained an icon to the poor, his policies aggravated the middle class, as well as traditional tribal leaders. He was overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by the French-backed Blaise Compaoré in October 1987.
When the revolutionary president of Burkina Faso was assassinated in 1987, his successor prevented an inquest into his death.
Sankara’s life was however cut short on October 15, 1987, when he was murdered along with 12 soldiers and buried in an unmarked grave by military men. He was only 37 years old.
3. Fred Hampton (the United States of America, 1969)
Fredrick Allen Hampton was an American activist and revolutionary socialist. He came to prominence in Chicago as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and deputy chairman of the national BPP.
Fred Hampton was killed in his apartment during a police raid while sleeping, unarmed in 1968.
On the morning of December 4, 1969, lawyer Jeffrey Haas received a call from his partner at the People’s Law Office, informing him that early that morning Chicago police had raided the apartment of Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton at 2337 West Monroe Street in Chicago.
Tragically, Hampton and fellow Panther Mark Clark had both been shot dead, and four other Panthers in the apartment had critical gunshot wounds. Police were uninjured and had fired their guns 90-99 times. In sharp contrast, the Panthers had shot once, from the shotgun held by Mark Clark, which had most likely been fired after Clark had been fatally shot in the heart and was falling to the ground.
The police raid was in retaliation for a previous shoot out the police had with members of the Black Panther Party that killed two policemen. The policeman who killed Hampton was acquitted in court, but members of the Black Panther Party would call it an assassination. He died aged 21.
4. Malcolm X (The United States of America, 1965)
Malcolm X, one of the most prominent Black leaders of the 20th Century rose from prison inmate to spokesman for the Nation Of Islam.
He started a newspaper called “Muhammad Speaks,” and called for radical change such as black separatism, whereby black people would remove themselves from predominantly white institutions and even nations.
In 1960, Malcolm X’s reputation continued to grow. He spoke with international leaders from Africa and the Middle East during the UN General Assembly.
In late 1963, Malcolm X left America and spent two months in Africa and the Middle East. He traveled to Mecca and saw Muslims of different races peacefully united. The experience was a life-changing moment for him.
On February 21, 1965, he was due to speak at the Audubon Ballroom, in New York. Despite the firebombing at his home a few weeks earlier, there was no police presence outside, and two officers were in another room.
This was despite his rallies usually warranting up to 24 officers. He also told his staff to not check people for guns as they entered, which had been protocol at his earlier meetings.
Before he could speak, he was shot 15 times. All 6 feet 4 inches of him fell like a tree, according to NPR. An ambulance was called, but it never arrived.
In his autobiography, he wrote, “If I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help destroy racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America then, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.”
5. Martin Luther King (The United States of America, 1968)
Martin Luther King was the face and voice of the civil rights movement. Martin would serve as a martyr for the movement after he was killed in Memphis in 1968 while supporting striking black sanitary public works employees.
King would be shot while outside his hotel room in Memphis. Escaped convict, James Earl Ray would confess to killing King but would later recant his confession. While there have been allegations of a conspiracy, no charges were ever made.
At 6:05 P.M. on Thursday, 4 April 1968, Martin Luther King was shot dead while standing on a balcony outside his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. News of King’s assassination prompted major outbreaks of racial violence, resulting in more than 40 deaths nationwide and extensive property damage in over 100 American cities.
James Earl Ray, a 40-year-old escaped fugitive, later confessed to the crime and was sentenced to a 99-year prison term. During King’s funeral, a tape recording was played in which King spoke of how he wanted to be remembered after his death: “I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others” (King, “Drum Major Instinct,” 85).
King had arrived in Tennessee on Wednesday, 3 April, to prepare for a march the following Monday on behalf of striking Memphis sanitation workers. As he prepared to leave the Lorraine Motel for a dinner at the home of Memphis minister Samuel “Billy” Kyles, King stepped out onto the balcony of room 306 to speak with Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) colleagues standing in the parking area below. An assassin fired a single shot that caused severe wounds to the lower right side of his face.